About The Miraculous Medal

Story of the Miraculous Medal

apparition-of-the-virgin-to-st-catherine-laboure.jpgThe devotion commonly known as that of the Miraculous Medal owes its origin to St. Catherine Laboure, a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, to whom the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared three separate times in the year 1830, at the mother-house of the community at Paris. The first of these apparitions occurred July 18, the second November 27, and the third a short time later. On the second occasion, Sister Catherine records that the Blessed Virgin appeared as if standing on a globe, and bearing a globe in her hands. Dazzling rays of light were emitted from her fingers, as if from rings set with precious stones. These, she said, were symbols of the graces which would be bestowed on all who asked for them. There were also rings from which no light rays flowed, and these symbolized the graces souls failed to ask her for. Sister Catherine adds that around the figure appeared an oval frame bearing in golden letters the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee"; on the back appeared the letter M, surmounted by a cross, with a crossbar beneath it, and beneath all, the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the former surrounded by a crown of thorns, and the latter pierced by a sword.

At the second and third of these visions a command was given to have a medal struck after the model revealed, and a promise of great graces was made to those who wear it when blessed. After careful investigation, M. Aladel, the spiritual director of Sister Catherine, obtained the approval of Mgr. de Quelen, Archbishop of Paris, and on 30 June, 1832, the first medals were struck and with their distribution the devotion spread rapidly. In February 1832 a terrible epidemic of cholera broke out in Paris and would eventually result in 20,000 deaths! In June the Daughters of Charity began to distribute the first 2000 medals that had been made at the request of Father Aladel. The number of cures multiplied, as well as protection from the disease. Many conversions also began to occur. There was a surge of requests for the medal, and the people of Paris began to call the medal “miraculous.”

Father Alphonse RatisbonneOne of the most remarkable facts recorded in connection with the Miraculous Medal is the conversion of a Jew, Alphonse Ratisbonne of Strasburg, who had resisted the appeals of a friend to enter the Church. M. Ratisbonne consented, somewhat reluctantly, to wear the medal, and being in Rome, he entered, by chance, the church of Sant' Andrea delle Fratte and beheld in a vision the Blessed Virgin exactly as she is represented on the medal; his conversion speedily followed. This event was investigated and received ecclesiastical sanction and is recorded in the Office of the Miraculous Medal. Within 5 years of the apparitions, there were more than one million medals worldwide, and in 1839 more than 10,000,000 medals were distributed. At the time of the death of Sister Catherine, in 1876, more than a billion medals had been produced and sent throughout the world.

In 1847, Pope Pius IX granted the privilege of establishing in the schools of the Sisters of Charity a confraternity under the title of the Immaculate Conception. This confraternity adopted the Miraculous Medal as its badge, and the members, known as the Children of Mary, wore it attached to a blue ribbon. In 1894, Pope Leo XIII, after a careful examination of all the facts by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, instituted a feast, with a special Office and Mass, of the Manifestation of the Immaculate Virgin under the title of the Miraculous Medal, to be celebrated yearly on 27 November.

More about the Meaning of the Medal

miraculous medal, orginal french miraculous medal, with french inscriptionThe words and pictures engraved on the medal represent three closely tied messages. “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” The identity ofMary is explicitly revealed to us here: the Virgin Mary is immaculate from the moment of her conception. This privilege is already bestowed upon her through the merits of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and from it flows the all-powerful nature of her intercession for those who pray to her. This is why the Virgin invites all to have recourse to her in the difficulties of life. Her feet are planted on a half-ball, and they are crushing the head of a serpent. The half-ball is a half-globe, the world. The snake personifies Satan and the forces of evil.

The Virgin Mary is herself engaged in a spiritual battle, the battle against evil, of which our world is the battlefield. She calls us also to follow God’s way, which is not the way of the world. It is this true grace resulting from one’s conversion that the Christian must ask of Mary to bring it to the whole world. Her hands are open and her fingers are adorned with rings, decorated with precious stones. Rays of light are emitted from these jewels, becoming increasingly bigger as they are beamed toward earth. The radiance of these beams reaffirms our trust in the fidelity of Mary (symbol of the rings) towards her Creator and towards her children, in her intervention (the rays of grace being beamed to earth), and in final victory (the light itself), since she, as the first disciple, is the first saved.

Miraculous medal, back of the miraculous medalOn the back of the medal is an initial and a drawing which introduce us to the secret of Mary. The letter “M” is superimposed by the cross. The “M” is the initial of Mary; the cross is the cross of Christ. The two interlaced symbols represent the everlasting bond that ties Christ to his Holy Mother. Mary is associated with the mission of the salvation of humanity through her son Jesus, and by her compassion participates in the actual redemptive sacrifice of Christ. The heart crowned with thorns is the Heart of Jesus. It reminds us of the cruel circumstances surrounding the Passion of Christ, recounted in the Gospels. It represents His Passion offered for love of humanity. The heart pierced by a sword is the Heart of Mary, his Mother, reminding us of the prophecy of Simeon recounted in the Gospels, the day of the Presentation of Jesus in the temple of Jerusalem by Mary and Joseph. It represents the love of Christ that dwells within Mary and His love for us: for our Salvation she accepts the sacrifice of her own Son. The closeness of the two hearts expresses that the life of Mary is intimately tied to that of her Son, Jesus. Twelve stars are engraved around the medal. These correspond to the twelve apostles and represent the Church. To be of the Church is to love Christ and to participate in his Passion for the salvation of the world. Each baptized person is invited to become a part of the mission of Christ by uniting his heart with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The medal is a call for each of us to walk generously the path of love and sacrifice, like Our Lord and His Mother, to the point of a total gift of ourselves.

Miraculous Medals



“I just wanted to thank you for the excellent customer service provided by your online shop and the very fine quality of scapular (the best I've seen) and Miraculous medal. I admire the wonderful work you are doing towards the restoration of Holy Church and Her glorious traditions.”

– D.M., Northern Ireland

“Out of all of the on-line religious goods stores I've found, the articles on your website are all quality without the kitsch. I received my order of religious jewelry super fast. Thank you. I’m so happy to have a place to go when I need a quality sacramental.”

– Andrew, Colorado, USA

“Every item is absolutely beautiful! I have not encountered any other service, either online or brick-and-mortar establishment, that offers items of the same exquisite quality as your sacramentals. The aesthetic beauty is not only pleasing to the eye but inspires devotion in the heart and a more ardent desire to please God. I will definitely be using your wonderful service for most of my devotional needs! Thanks again! God bless you, Sisters.”

– Antonia, New York, USA

“Excellence is the Sisters trademark! As always, a smooth easy means of purchase, coupled with prompt shipping . The Items I have purchased over the years are always of superb quality and workmanship. I could not be more pleased.”

- Francis T Walsh

“I have now purchased at least a dozen brown scapulars from the Sisters of Carmel and have always received items of the utmost quality that wear very well. Adding to my satisfaction is that the Sisters charge a standard USPS shipping rate for the items, i.e., they do not add to one’s cost by charging inflated “shipping and handling” charges. Furthermore, my order was shipped one business day after I placed my order. We are all called by God to serve within the confines of His graces to us. The Sisters of Carmel are models of that calling.”

- Ed Shimkus

“I have received my orders from you and again want to thank you for them. The Blessed Sacrament and Seven Dolors chaplets are beautiful and will be treasured by me for many years. As others have said, the pictures on the web site don’t do them justice. I also want to thank you for the books you carry. They are clearly selected with the goal of deepening faith. It is wonderful to find a place where I can go and know that I will receive quality, not only of merchandise, but of faith. Again, thank you for the work you do.”

– Mary, Minnesota, USA

“I just received my scapular and crucifix along with the Miraculous Medals. I am so very pleased with the quality of the items! Truly the BEST on-line selection of sacramentals. Thanks so much! I will be ordering from you again soon.”

– David, Ohio, USA

“Your website is like an oasis of good spiritual things! You do such magnificent work, the chaplets are amazing! The badges are like having good friends near, and your books are so nourishing to the soul. I feel so blessed to have found you. Thank you again, and you are in my prayers.”

– Laura, California, USA

“Unbelievable service – I received my order on Monday, exactly five days after placing it. Your customer service is outstanding. Everything was securely packaged and arrived in perfect condition. The ceramic ornaments are lovely, and I can’t wait to add them to my Christmas tree this year. The exquisite suncatcher will be placed in my kitchen window where it will be appreciated every day. And as for the ‘In Paradisum’ CD, all I can say is it’s on continuous loop right now. I love early sacred choral music and have a collection of CD’s, but this one is stunningly beautiful and has become my new favorite.”

– Linda, North Carolina, USA

“I wanted to let you know that I received the Rosary that you created for us just a short while ago. Sisters, it has to be without exception the most beautiful Rosary I have ever held. It is exactly how I envisioned it and the size is perfect. You were also right about the beads; the color is exceptional! Thank you, thank you, thank you each and every Sister for doing such a perfect job and for putting up with us throughout this whole process. While rersearching this project, every time I looked elsewhere, I always seemed to be guided back to the Sisters of Carmel, and now I know why...PERFECTION!

– A Catholic Church, New York, USA

“I just wanted to thank you for the exceptional care you took in packing/shipping the books and other items in my order.... It’s the little extra touches like this that go a long way with the customer and lets them know how much you value their business.”

– R.C., New York, USA

“I received my sterling silver Pardon Crucifix yesterday. It was such a pleasure to receive it. Everything was packaged and presented with such care and finesse. The crucifix was crafted with such intricate and beautiful details that it does not do justice to look at it through the Internet. One has to order it to relish what a beautiful piece of art it is. Again, the manner you package the crucifix, the enclosures contained within, and the quality of craftmanship itself has totally exceeded my expectations.”

– K.W.C.

“I recently purchased a cord rosary from the Sisters of Carmel. I have to say the quality and craftsmanship was far beyond my expectations. I was so impressed I ordered two more rosaries as gifts. God bless the Sisters of Carmel and God bless your ministry! Your rosaries, in my opinion, are of the finest quality anywhere.”

- Chris

“When I asked my priest to bless my new scapular, it took his breath away by its handmade beauty. I told him it had been made with loving hands by the Sisters of Carmel. I felt the Holy Spirit say to give it to him. I did. He was overwhelmed. I ordered another one for myself and it arrived today. I love it. It is so beautiful. I will kiss it every day. I am eager to have it blessed tomorrow and wear it immediately. Thank you.”

– Anonymous

“I love to order any item from your site. Always such high quality and a joy for all that I give them to. Your care and blessings are felt from the Holy Spirit to us. Thank you and God bless you.”

- Julia

“Once again the best. I appreciate you quickly sending me the scapular. I could have gone locally to purchase one, but I truly appreciate your craftsmanship and customer service.”

- Linda

“This is the most beautiful rosary I have ever seen crafted. Combining high quality materials, skillful labor, and loving prayer, the Carmelite Sisters are hands down the best choice to go with when shopping for rosaries. Reasonably priced, quick delivery, and wonderful customer service, I will DEFINITELY be ordering all of my future rosary purchases from ”